The plot here is more akin to a fairy tale than to a romantic comedy: a noble prince is ordered by the mysterious Queen of the Night to rescue a beautiful princess who has been kidnapped. We are launched from the opening moments right in the thick of action. A serpent is attacking Prince Tamino, the hero, when three ladies appear from nowhere and save him. This scene, like many in the opera, could as easily be played for laughs or as genuinely scary. And there are plot twists – who are the “good guys” and the “bad guys”? Sent on a chivalresque mission by the Queen, when Tamino eventually meets the kidnapper Sarastro and his temple-goers, they turn out to be anything but evil.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Die Zauberflote, K. 620
Opera in two acts, german libretto: Emanuel Schikaneder